238. Government decision No. 36 of 13 January 2006 established a Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights within the Ministry of Education and Science. The Committee has an adoption unit which, in accordance with the procedure established by law, will coordinate and guide the activities of ministries and departments, local authorities and NGOs in this area.
239. In accordance with article 21 of the Convention, “inter-country adoption may be considered as an alternative means of child’s care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child’s country of origin”.
240. This principle is reflected in current Kazakh legislation. Article 52 of the Marriage and the Family Act establishes the right of the child to live and be raised in a family.
241. Pursuant to article 76 of the Marriage and the Family Act, children may be adopted only if it is in their interests. Children who are Kazakh citizens may be adopted by foreigners only when they cannot be adopted by Kazakh citizens who are permanently resident in the country, or by relatives irrespective of their nationality or place of residence.
242. The procedure for adoption, laid down in article 77 of the Marriage and the Family Act, provides for court proceedings with the participation of a procurator and the tutorship and guardianship agencies.
243. In addition, pursuant to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Marriage and the Family Act, a procedure for establishing a central register of children was approved by Government decision No. 1346 of 9 September 1999 on Rules for keeping a central register of children deprived of parental care. In April 2002, the Government adopted a decision supplementing Government decision No. 1346 of 9 September 1999.
244. The Supreme Court issued decision No. 17 of 22 December 2000 in order to regulate matters relating to the application by the courts of the Marriage and the Family Act when cases involving the adoption of children are considered.
245. Government decision No. 1197 of 12 November 2002 lays down the procedure for the adoption by foreigners of children who are Kazakh citizens.
246. The Ministry of Education and Science, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, issued order No. 814 of 22 August 2002 on the efficient exchange of information relating to the adoption by foreigners of children deprived of parental care, pursuant to which data on children adopted by foreigners are collated every month.
247. To strengthen oversight of international adoptions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued order No. 08-1/31 of 11 April 2003 approving instructions for the registration of children who are Kazakh citizens and who are adopted by foreigners. Under paragraph 2 of the instructions, information on the children must be entered in the consular register at the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they leave Kazakhstan.
248. In January 2006, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced amendments to the Rules for keeping a register of foreign citizens wishing to adopt children who are Kazakh citizens (No. 655 of 17 June 1999). These amendments concern the submission of additional documentation to establish whether the adoptive parents have a criminal record and the procedure for monitoring of adopted Kazakh children by consular officials.
249. With a view to establishing cooperation among contracting States to ensure respect for the safeguards to prevent the abduction and sale of children, draft legislation was prepared and submitted to Parliament on Kazakhstan’s accession to and ratification of the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption and the Convention on Child Protection.
250. Between 2003 and 2005, 10,685 children deprived of parental care were placed with families for adoption, including:
251. One reason for which parents reject children is the child’s health status: more than 80 per cent of adopted children are physically or mentally retarded or suffer from congenital, venereal or cardiovascular diseases.
252. The procedure for adoption in Kazakhstan is laid down in domestic legislation, but in practice, some of the provisions need to be amended. For instance, with a view to protecting the rights of Kazakh children adopted by foreigners, it is planned to introduce amendments to the following laws and regulations: the Civil Code, the Marriage and the Family Act, the Nationality Act, the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Kazakhstan Act. These amendments would restrict the adoption rights of persons in same-sex marriages, persons of unconventional sexual orientation and single-parent families, and establish an age qualification for adoptive
parents and criteria for assessing their financial situation. Provisions will be incorporated in Kazakh legislation to regulate monitoring of children adopted by foreigners and their return in the event that their legal rights are violated.
253. Informational materials are being prepared, in Kazakh and Russian, for subsequent dissemination through the mass media. They describe the negative effects of orphanhood and advocate the importance of the family and a family upbringing. The aim is to draw public attention to the increasing trend towards raising children deprived of parental care in the family, and to win public support for strengthening the right of the child to grow up in a family.
254. Matters relating to the adoption of children deprived of a family environment are covered in paragraphs 214-229 of Kazakhstan’s initial report, considered in 2003.
Periodic review of placement
255. Pursuant to article 25 of the Convention, information on periodic review of placement and all other circumstances relevant thereto and to the child’s protection and the treatment of his or her physical or mental health, is provided in paragraphs 230-231 of Kazakhstan’s initial report, considered in 2003. The norms and rules referred to in that report are still in force.
256. In September 2004, during a meeting of the Commission on Human Rights in the office of the President, the national ministries and departments reported on the work they had done to protect the rights and interests of children and to create conditions for the maintenance, upbringing and education of children deprived of parental care, in compliance with the provisions of the Convention.
257. In 2003 and 2004, the Ministry of Education and Science examined questions relating to the living conditions of children deprived of parental care in children’s homes and residential schools in Aqtobe and South Kazakhstan provinces.
258. In addition to greater departmental and procuratorial supervision of living conditions of children deprived of parental care residing in specialized institutions, opportunities are being provided for independent supervision by the national human rights institution. For instance, during the reporting period, the National Human Rights Centre monitored the observance of the rights of the child in residential institutions in South Kazakhstan, Qyzylorda, Аtyrau, Mangistau, Pavlodar, West Kazakhstan, Zhambyl, East Kazakhstan and North Kаzakhstan provinces, and in the cities of Astana and Almaty. On-site visits immediately revealed some problems: insufficient funding, placement of children after they leave the institutions and children’s limited access to information.
259. In 2005, the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) of Kazakhstan drafted a report on the observance of the rights of the child, which analysed the situation of the rights and freedoms of children in the country, and compliance with relevant international standards.